July/August 2016








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2015-2016 Board of Directors

President - Phil Lee 

President Elect - Cathy Little 

Past President - John Helms 

Secretary - Cathy Little

Treasurer - Janine Wilson

Legislation - Patrick Burns 

Media Relations - Patrick Burns 

New Membership - Pat Hennessy

Membership Retention - Sue Wakamoto-Lee 

CAHUPAC - Hazel Bright 

HUPAC - Hazel Bright 

Hospitality - Kenneth Coker 

Education/Programs - Ron Huppert 

Awards - Casey Stratmeyer

Communications - Kevin Roberts

Foundation - Linda Rose Koehler

Member at Large -Mitzy Russom



Board Meetings are held monthly, 2nd Wednesdays @ 9:00 am. Please contact for information

For Board member contact information, visit

2016 NAHU Convention in Albuquerque, By Pat Burns and Kevin Roberts

Golden Gate members were at the NAHU convention from June 26th to 29th in Albuquerque, NM. Beyond the Breaking Bad tours and the Tex-Mex food, our members were treated to listening to the leaders of the association and our plans for the future. GGAHU had a record 7 delegates to the annual convention who voted on the candidates for our future leaders. The new Secretary of the association is Dane Reinhardt from Maryland. The Secretary of the Association eventually rises to the President of the Association.

Beyond the election we also had a great time at the continuing education sessions, with the tons of vendors who had great new technologies to show and innovative ways to separate yourself from your competition, and will the special speakers, like Donna Brazile and Ana Navarro who gave a funny and engaging update on the presidential election and the probable next administration. But the biggest benefit of attending the conference is the networking and trading ideas with other associations members who are tops in the field from across the country.

California's Don Goldmann who has been NAHU president for the past year gave a great talk on why to get involved and stay involved, while Jim Stenger from Florida, our new President, spoke about his passion for NAHU and the need for a strong association. Without NAHU, there is no one speaking for us.

The big night of the convention is the awarding of the Harold R. Gordon Memorial Award. This is the highest individual award that NAHU confers, it's our Health Insurance Person of the Year Award. It turned out to be a great moment for our California delegation as, Sam Smith from Los Angeles took home the award. Sam is an unceasing advocate for agents and is Past President of both LAAHU and CAHU. Sam was an integral voice in CAHU's efforts to defeat Proposition 45 which would have given the insurance commissioner unlimited control over health insurance in our state.

We always come back for the annual conference charged up about our association and the people from across the country that are fighting for us and our clients. Next year it will be at the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld, so bring the kids!

GGAHU attendees at the NAHU House of Delegates; Kevin Roberts with NAHU President Jim Stenger; Pat Burns speaking at the NAHU Town Hall Meeting.


Thank you to the 12 members of GGAHU who attended the 2016 NAHU Annual Convention in Albuquerque in June. 
  • Hazel Bright
  • Patrick Burns
  • Rick Coburn
  • Kenneth Coker
  • John Helms
  • Linda Rose Koehler
  • Phil Lee
  • Cathy Little
  • Wendy Miller
  • Kevin Roberts
  • Sue Wakamoto-Lee
  • Janine Wilson
Congratulations to the 5 GGAHU members who qualified for this year's Leading Producer Round Table (LPRT):
  • Hazel Bright
  • Colleen Callahan
  • Phil Lee
  • John Helms
  • Linda Rose Koehler
Thank You to Board Chairs, by Phil Lee GGAHU President

GGAHU would like to express its sincere appreciation for the dedication and sacrifices of the following Board Chairs who stepped down this year:

Colleen Callahan stepped down from her dual roles as GGAHU's Legislative Chair and Media Chair.  Colleen has served the Association diligently for many years in her roles.  During that time, she has helped to keep our chapter members informed and helped CAHU to lobby successfully for and against numerous pieces of legislation.

Patrick Burns, CAHU past president, has stepped in to assume the positions that Colleen held.  In addition to his responsibilities on the GGAHU Board, Patrick also holds additional executive positions with CAHU, NAHU and Region 8.
Special thanks to Jennie Lapava who resigned from her role as Hospitality Chair.  Jennie has been a diligent and dependable organizer at every one of the GGAHU meetings and events.  We will miss her and Colleen.

GGAHU is excited to welcome Kenneth Coker to our Board who will assume the role of Hospitality Chair.
GGAHU Members and Board Chairs in Action

Linda Rose Koehler, GGAHU Foundation Chair, along with Maggie Stedt, President of OCAHU, accepting the NAHU Award for Most New Members in Region 8.

Linda Rose Koehler, VP of Region 8, accepting the NAHU Blue Chip Award for Region 8.

GGAHU Board Chairs Sue Wakamoto-Lee and Cathy Little enjoying a lighter moment in Albuquerque.

NAHU opened this year's National Convention with a native American dance performance.

Arriving at the Albuquerque International airport, NAHU National Convention attendees were greeted with a grand welcome by the host City.

GGAHU Board Chairs for the new fiscal year 2016-2017 were sworn into office by Rick Coburn, current CAHU President.

GGAHU Immediate Past President, John Helms was presented with tokens of the Board's appreciation for his service.

Colleen Callahan, outgoing Legislative Chair and Media Chair, was presented with GGAHU's Legislative Excellence Award, with much appreciation from the Board for her many years of service.

John Helms at the Capitol building in Sacramento after a long day of meetings.

GGAHU brokers and agency staff receiving in-depth training on On-Boarding software from BerniePortal and Limelight Health staff.  This technology initiative was spearheaded by Cathy Little, GGAHU's President-Elect.

GGAHU Technology Initiative, by Cathy Little & Phil Lee, GGAHU Technology Committee

Following our well-attended Technology meeting April, we received survey feedback from members stating that they would like to see more assistance learning about and selecting the right technology solutions for their clients.

In an effort to provide brokers with additional ongoing support, we have been working with one of the tech vendors, BerniePortal, to give GGAHU members a special package of technology services, which includes On-Boarding, Benefits Administration and Compliance, at greatly reduced prices. This program includes a series of weekly demos by the vendor followed by two in-person training sessions at a convenient location. The reduced pricing will be available only to members of GGAHU and its sister chapters in California.

If you are interested in participating, you must act quickly. Our timeline is very short because we know that brokers planning to adopt new technology have to be up and running before the busy 4th Quarter.

If you have any questions, please email or call:

Cathy Little 925-984-5400
Phil Lee 925-284-2000 Ext. 101

The Emotional Board Report, by John Helms, President GGAHU
One of the unfortunate things about being the president is that is takes about a year before you get good at it and then when you do, it becomes is someone else's turn. Now that I am coming to the end of my reign I am beginning to be a bit nostalgic. At first it is a combination of excitement with a tinge of anxiety. Then after a few months the excitement is gone but the anxiety has grown with the responsibility. About midway through you start to realize that the job is not forever and you start to enjoy it again. And when you finish, you are relieved but don't quite want to let go. I know that this is how it works because every one of my predecessors told me this is how it would be. They were right.
Looking back, I have to say that this was a good year. As an organization, GGAHU just about doubled in size and now stands at approximately 350 members. Granted, I had very little to do with that but it was a sensitive and transitional time for us and we seemed to have absorbed the new members without radically altering or diluting our core mission. Our finances are in good shape and I was able to secure two president-elects and a full board so I can leave feeling like I did my job.
2015-2016 saw the debut of both the Tech and Medicare Summits, something which will become more important as we move forward into the post ObamaCare world. Each of these events opened up a new and important way of reaching future members and sponsors at a time when we are struggling for both. We had a host of other well put together events that benefitted our membership. My pet project, the committee system, was relatively successful giving us structure and helped build and spread the knowledge base across the board as a way of developing future leadership.
We survived the 4th quarter; barely, but we survived. It is hard to make demands on an all-volunteer non paid board and membership but with our livelihoods at stake we all pulled together and hung in there. Our organization had to adjust to the new business cycle like everyone else but it has taken a toll. With had work comes a greater need to play and relax. The golf tournament was a smash and everybody enjoyed the Christmas Party, although I learned that we might have to rename that to something less denominational next year.
I came a long way as well. Having been a lone wolf independent agent my entire career I left my comfort zone and became part of a bigger pack. I learned how to organize and run a board meeting, how to lead and motivate a team, and how to speak publicly. I made my share of mistakes and had my weaknesses but I also made a lot of friends and got to do something which I could have easily avoided but instead chose to get involved and tried and make a difference. The world will keep turning once I have left but the experience will remain part of me for as long as I live and I am very glad I did it.  

John Helms in action as GGAHU President

DMHC Deputy speaks at CAHU Capitol Summit, by Hazel Bright 

CAHU Capitol Summit was a three day program, and on Wednesday, Mary Watanabe, Deputy Director of Health Policy and Stakeholder Relations, CA Dept. of Managed Health Care gave a presentation about her regulatory agency and how it serves over 25 million consumers. Dept. of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is the regulatory agency that oversees 122 plans, including government and commercial plans.
DMHC does not cover Medicare complaints.

Mary spoke in detail about the grievance procedure - IMR - Independent Medical Review for consumers with a complaint about their health plan or treatment. This is usually filed when a carrier denies or modifies your request for care. Agents can be the authorized assistor with the consumer's signature and consent. She went over the form, which is on their website. It is two pages and can be completed by the consumer and/or the broker. It's important to know that the IMR needs to be filed within 6 months of the denial or appeal from the health plan.

She also spoke about the complaint process for those consumers who are waiting too long to see a doctor or specialist. DMHC has a Help Center for consumers with translators, she stressed that the consumer needs to call, not their son or daughter, and speak with a translator for the best results.

What impressed me the most was Mary's willingness to work with agents and making sure we understood the services provided by her department. This was a very informative presentation and I would be interested in bringing Mary to speak at one of our member meetings.

DMHC_s Mary Watanabe speaking at CAHU Capitol Summit.

John Muir Health, Humana in Medicare Advantage Partnership, by Kevin Roberts

Humana Medicare Advantage members in Contra Costa County now have access to value-based care, thanks to a new partnership with John Muir Health.

John Muir Health and Humana will serve the common goal of improving the health of Humana Medicare Advantage members, improving the patient experience and reducing the cost of care. Both organizations will benefit financially if the health of this population improves. Doctors will also be rewarded financially for high-quality care.

Transitioning to value-based payment models means that physicians are reimbursed for the health outcomes of the patients they serve. By focusing on quality and health, Humana experienced 18% lower costs in total in 2014 for members who were treated by providers in a value-based reimbursement model setting versus original fee-for-service Medicare. John Muir Health has also participated in several value-based programs, including the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO.

"Our new partnership will build on the care coordination expertise of Humana and John Muir Health to bring Humana Medicare Advantage members more cost-effective, quality care and an exceptional patient experience," said Lee Huskins, president and chief administrative officer of John Muir Health's Physician Network. "Our partnership is well aligned with John Muir Health's efforts to increase access, focus on preventive care and, when needed, deliver the right care at the right time and in the most appropriate setting for our patients."

John Muir Health will collaborate with Humana to manage prescriptions, follow up on patients who miss appointments, and identify at-risk patients so they can receive the right care before requiring serious medical attention. Patients will also benefit from wellness programs and improved screening and monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Huskins added, "Our combined experience and success with these types of arrangements positions us well to deliver on what patients are looking for in their health care experience."

PAC Report Thanks Contributors, by Phil Lee

Thank You to the following GGAHU members who contributed to CAHU PAC:
Tina Baumgartner
Hazel Bright
Patrick Burns
Lynn Caffrey
Rebecca Canova
Richard Coburn
Bob Copeland
Emmi Ensign
Patrick Hennessy
James Holt
Linda Rose Koehler
Philip Lee
Jennifer Lisanti
Julian Monsarrat III
Ken Ruotolo
Casey Stratmeyer
Thank You to the following GGAHU members who contributed to HUPAC:
John Baskett
Hazel Bright
Patrick Burns
Colleen Callahan
Richard Coburn
Bob Copeland
Emmi Ensign
Paula Heckler
John Helms
Ron Huppert
Linda Rose Koehler
Philip Lee
Cathy Little
Julian Monsarrat
Ken Ruotolo
Sue Wakamoto-Lee
Steven Way
Janine Wilson
William Wong

GGAHU Information You Should Know, by Kevin Roberts
Upcoming Meetings:
  • August 4, 2016 Medicare Summit at the Marriott Walnut Creek
  •  September 13&14, 2016 CAHU Health Care Summit & Expo at Universal City
  • September 21, 2016 GGAHU Sales Symposium at the Crowne Plaza, Concord
Designations, Training and Recognition (Information available at
  • Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) Program
  • Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) Program
  • Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC)
  • Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) Agent/Broker Training
  • Leading Producers Round Table (LPRT)
GGAHU's Annual Budget is posted on

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